The magic of film

Film photography was a passion of mine for many years - I remember as a child looking at photos developed in my Dad's darkroom - amazing images of penguins from when he was in the Falklands with the Navy, or candid snapshots of when he and my Mum were younger.  Precious insights into worlds I'd not travelled or lives lived prior to my arriving.  My fascination with photography and darkrooms led me to take A Level Photography, and many a happy hour was spent making pinhole cameras, or developing my own photos in the lab - mixing chemicals, hanging films in driers, moving photographic paper into different tubs and watching the images emerge.  It all just felt so magical.

It's probably no surprise either, that I later, after University (this was in 2005 - feeling old now) went on to work in a camera shop, with occasional stints running the lab when I worked in a branch in Winchester.  Donning the white labcoat and sitting at the back of the shop, pulling films through the developing machine and then splicing and scanning them to see the photos people had taken, reignited my love for film photography.  Though it was often just holiday photos, birthday parties or other celebrations, the occasional film that would come in where someone had an eye for composition, or images that told a wonderful story, made it all worth it.  I often find with photography that it's not the person with the best camera, or the most extensive knowledge about apertures and shutter speeds, but the people who take the time to capture something beautiful, or have that way of setting things up within a frame, that make the best photographers.

Scarphelia's recent post about having films developed - 'The Curiosity Collector' had me digging out some old film cameras again, and I've spent the last few weeks taking my Olympus XA on various trips and reminding myself how much I love using 35mm film.  The beauty of the XA is that it's a Rangefinder camera, so you have to set the aperture and focussing yourself - you really have to think about the composition; the distance of the subject, the framing, the type of photograph you're taking (a portrait, a landscape etc) in order to make the right choices before you take the photos.

Flowers in the garden Boys at the BBQ

Something about using film and knowing every photo counts, and can't be deleted, as well as having to consider the aperture and focussing, means that there's something more slow and mindful about using the XA.  Whereas I'm often frivolous with my photography - taking photos and then deleting the ones that didn't work - this forces you to be more selective about what you capture, and how.  I find myself capturing things I want to remember, or snapping those little moments that make me smile, rather than just the meaningless shots of something forgettable.

Bodhi Tree Boys at the beer garden

Dropping off the film at Boots contained a little dose of extra excitement, as the film had five photos on it from the last time I'd used the camera, which was many years before.  When the photos came back it was odd to reminisce about those few images, taken in what seemed like a different life.  The view from my old flat before I moved in with Tom, me sitting on a fence in the New Forest, anticipating the house move that would take me from my life in Southampton to our new life in Christchurch.  It's funny to look back at that person now and wonder what she was thinking about that day - balanced at the beginning of another step towards a new life, grinning in a layby after viewing what would be our first house together (wearing too much eyeliner and a humongous blanket of a scarf - I shall not share the photo here).

Sky from Lee on Solent

I'm so pleased that I've picked up my film cameras again, and that using 35mm is leading me to think more about photography and the things I capture.  Although I don't usually shoot just on automatic (though I'm not so snobbish to suggest that isn't the right approach for a lot of people) - it's still a good reminder that taking that time to consider all of the elements of the capture before you click the shutter definitely pays dividends.  And who knows, maybe I'll leave a film half taken in one of my cameras, so that a few years from now I can take it to be developed and wonder what the girl in the photographs was thinking on that day in the summer of 2015.

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Chorizo, pepper, manchego cheese and refried bean 'hot torta' | Lurpak Freestyle Challenge

I watched the movie 'Chef' on the plane home from America last September and developed a rather unhealthy obsession with hot sandwiches and making the ultimate Cuban sandwich.  I think I ordered a Breville Sandwich Press within about four minutes of walking in the door from our holiday, such was my desire to start making amazing paninis, ciabattas and toasties.  Since then, the love for my sandwich press has been strong, but my creativity with the recipes I use has definitely waned - most weekends Tom and I find ourselves whipping up a basic cheese and ham toastie without much thought, and the days of trying to perfect a Cuban sandwich or mash together food-truck-esque street food are long gone.

So when Lurpak recently got in touch to ask me if I wanted to take part in their Lurpak 'Freestyle Challenge', I was immediately interested.  It turns out that I'm not alone in being a creature of habit when it comes to making sandwiches, and three in ten British office workers take the same sandwich to work every day. Lurpak are currently hosting a Freestyle Food Month and are challenging people to try 'breaking free from their culinary routine', as well as having their own food truck dishing out yummy combinations to lucky lunchers in London (more on that later).

With the street food theme in mind I decided to try and whip up a recipe that could be dished out in an El Jefe (that's the one in Chef!) style food truck.  After a bit of research I discovered some recipes for 'Hot Tortas' - a Mexican street food sandwich often made in a crusty, white sandwich roll.

Hot tortas usually include a cheese like Manchego or Quesillo, a meat like chorizo or pork shank, and then the addition of refried beans, jalapenos and veg.  You can have hot tortas with seemingly any ingredients you want, and many throw in avocado, tomato and lettuce.  For my 'hot torta' I chose manchego cheese, chorizo, red pepper and refried beans.

Mexican Hot Tortas Toastie

As I was making it in my sandwich press, I went for plain old white bread, but I'm definitely going to try it in a roll next in keeping with the way they're traditionally made.  Hot tortas are usually made by heating up all of the ingredients separately and then building them into the sandwich, so I heated up the refried beans, melted the cheese in and stir fried the peppers, before layering in the chorizo and popping the whole creation in the sandwich press.

Mexican Hot Tortas Toastie
Chorizo, manchego cheese, refried beans and peppers toastie for Lurpak Freestyle Challenge. www.arosieoutlook.com

I'm just going to pause there for a second whilst I allow you to take in just how good that looks and for me to reminisce about what was officially the best sandwich I have ever had.  I'm not even exaggerating, I made so many 'mmmm' and 'ahhhhh' noises I think the neighbours were probably getting a little concerned.  The melted cheese alongside the spice of the chorizo and crunch of the peppers was just utterly heavenly.  I'm so glad I took the time to whip up this recipe and try something different as it's definitely going to be a new staple in my kitchen!

Mexican Hot Tortas Toastie

If my sandwich has got you hankering to try something different at lunch, and if you're lucky enough to be London based then you need to get along to the Lurpak food truck between tomorrow and the 17th July for some of their free sandwiches and canap├ęs.  Their first stop will be tomorrow at Paddington Central, and then onto...

1 July at Observation Point (Southbank)
7 July at Canary Wharf
8 July at Regents Place
14 July at Spitalfields Market
15 July at One New Change
16 July at Potters Fields
17 July at Chiswick Business Park

I'm so jealous of you lucky Londoners, as their sandwich combos sound amazing (peach and ricotta on raisin bread is one I'll definitely be trying to replicate at home!) You could also win a Lurpak hamper by making your own freestyle recipe in the kitchen and sharing it on instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the tag #freestylefood (you'll find some of their featured creations on their Freestyle Food page).

Are you a creature of habit when it comes to making your lunch every day?

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A (big) catchup

I feel like, looking back on these photos, the last few weeks have past in a flurry of dog walks, drinks in gardens and barbecues.  Which is definitely not a bad way to spend your time!  I'm in this weird period at the moment where I don't particularly like spending long periods on my own, but being so busy is burning me out a bit.  I definitely need to find that balance I've been looking for.  I have had some lovely days out and weekends away lately though.  All photos are from my phone camera I'm afraid as my compact is MIA and I haven't been taking my SLR out much lately.

001. Hengistbury Head - I love Hengistbury Head and all its pretty beach huts.  Tom and I took Bodhi out for a long run here recently - I went on my rollerblades and Tom went on his skateboard, it was lots of fun!


002. Parents' house BBQ - This weekend we visited my parents' house for a barbecue - Tom's parents came too and we had lots of fun walking the dogs on the beach and eating and drinking in the garden. It was a bit chilly and rained though - like a proper British BBQ I ate my burger in a raincoat with the hood up!  My parents garden and summerhouse is so beautiful, it never fails to put a smile on my face.  Was so nice to spend Father's Day with my Dad too (excuse no makeup face).  Oh - and the mirror in the bedroom I stay in is perfect for quick outfit phone snaps, I can never help myself!

My parents' garden is so nice, I think I'm going to move into their summerhouse... {#garden #summerhouse #blueskies}
A little post-barbecue stroll along the beach at Lee on Solent. Barbecue in the rain and then a walk under gloomy skies; all very British.... {#leeonsolent #hampshire #beach #greyskies #walk}
Happy Father's Day to my Dad, my total hero. Love my Dad so much. Always has the best advice and knows exactly the right thing to say. Was lovely to be able to spend the weekend with him and my Mum. {#fathersday #dadtime #daddytaps}
My Dad made me a mean Pimms yesterday. Definitely got nearly all of my five a day in that glass! I feel it is Pimms season now, bring on more barbecues (without the rain this time), beer gardens and sitting in the sunshine with a cold glass of something t

3. Walks to the pub - One of the things I miss terribly about living in Southampton is being able to walk to a beer garden and while away a summer's evening in a pub with a cold cider.  Our local pub is not my favourite (I don't really rate the food unfortunately) but they have benches outside and serve cider, and that's enough for me at the moment!

Sky during run

4. Weekend in Warwick - I spent the most perfect weekend with Sarah and Katy recently.  Sarah is always the perfect host and we had so much fun just lazing around, catching up, brunching in Leamington, walking Bodhi, barbecuing and generally just hanging out.  Love these ladies so much, not a day goes by when I don't wish they lived closer!

UntitledSky during run

5. Sunny dog walks - Tom walks Bodhi in the mornings as I have a longer commute (and it takes me longer to get ready!) but we've been popping out after work to walk him too and taking advantage of the sunny evenings.  It's nice to see Bodhi so happy, hopping around in the grass and taking in all the new smells and sounds.  The fields and paths around where we live are particularly beautiful in the Spring and Summer.

Sky during run

6.  Pamper evenings - I've tried to make time for myself recently and ensure I do the 'self care' stuff as well as being a busybum and being here there and everywhere.  Victoria Plumb recently sent me a Pamper Basket with all of these goodies in to help me relax and unwind - it was the best package I've received in a long time! We're hoping to renovate our bathroom soon and we'll be getting all of our fixtures and fittings from Victoria Plumb so it's been lovely to connect with them.  I love the idea of having a 'spa' style bathroom where you can have a long soak in the tub and just ease all your cares away, candles burning and magazines stacked up by the side of the bath.  At the moment our bathroom is full of clutter and has peach walls and grotty pine cladding so it's not a great place to relax! We're not sure what the future holds for our house and how long we'll stay where we are, but either way the bathroom needs an urgent revamp!

Sky during run

7. Reflection - I am finding things a bit tough at the moment but the comments on my last post meant so much.  I find blogging amazing for connecting you with people who feel exactly the same, and make you feel less alone, so thank you to everyone who has sent a kind word or advice.  Life is an adventure at times! 

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8. New design - I hope you like my new blog design - I fancied something cleaner and clearer, I really want to focus on making my blog great and being creative and getting lots of good content up over the coming months so it felt good to start with a 'clean slate' as it were!

Have you been busy enjoying the sunshine or does summer put you in chill mode?

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Should happiness be so hard?

I think that a lot of the things I've been spending time on over the last few years are in the pursuit of happiness. I know that sounds obvious, because what else is life but one long chase of those moments that make your heart sing? But sometimes I feel like when I wake up, there is a pit of emptiness in my stomach, and I spend my days trying to fill it.  I get the odd peek at some of the things that start to pad out that feeling of vastness inside. Yoga, seeing friends and family, writing and being creative, moments of solitude (though not for too long, as busy brain tends to creep in).  I don't get to do any of these as much as I would like, and I constantly complain of being 'busy' without always being able to explain what I fill my time with.  I think I'm always busy because I am always trying to find those things that will perfectly fill that gap.

Stephen Covey wrote about the 'big rocks' in life - where your life is an empty jar, and you fill it with big rocks first, then you can add gravel, sand, water; all the small things that make up life.  Every time you think it's full you can add more of the small stuff.  The point isn't that you can always fit more stuff in (though that is pretty much how I've been living my life lately) but the point is that you have to get the 'big rocks', the stuff that matters, in first, otherwise the small stuff will fill it up and you won't be able to fit them in.  I try so hard with the small stuff - the gratitude journal, the endless self-help books stacked up on my bedside cabinet, the yoga classes I do manage to get to, the morning runs, the cookbooks and the rich foods, the holidays, the new hobbies, the gym routines, the new clothes and beauty products.... but it never seems to fill that void.  I still find myself searching for those big rocks to make me feel full and content.

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I have trouble with December and January (see here), and when Mercury is in retrograde, and on rainy days, and dark days, and cold days.  When I spend too much time with people, and when I spend too much time alone. When I think too much, and when I don't spend enough time reflecting. I have read that happiness is a muscle you have to build, and flex, and it takes work.  I have read The Happiness Project and I am trying to declutter, and have a capsule wardrobe, and 'be Rosie', and lighten up, and be grateful, and generally invest time and energy into being happy. I am trying so hard! But the muscles aren't quite there yet. I'm checking myself in the mirror but I can't see any changes.

// credit unknown

I know that you will think that I have so much to be happy about, and so much to fill that feeling in my stomach. I agree. I have my health, I have a lovely husband, we are lucky enough to own a house in the beautiful New Forest, I have a nice car, we have Bodhi dog, I have a good job, food on the table, books on the bookshelf, a loving family, and an enormous amount that others aren't lucky enough to have. Please don't think that I don't count my lucky stars for these things, every day.  I know that for most people, they are the big rocks. But I guess this hole in my belly yearns for more. I just don't know what 'more' looks like at the moment. I feel so selfish for wanting the 'more' - I know that our grandparents were taught to graft and work hard, and that happiness was a good meal and a comfortable bed. I curse my type A personality that is always eyeing up the next challenge, the next shiny penny, walking fast and talking fast and filling my diary with the next thing that might be my 'more'. But still I keep on searching and trying to fill that empty place that wakes me up in the night, and washes over me when I wake up. And I keep asking myself, should happiness be this hard?

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Busy brain needs a declutter

I wonder if I’ll ever learn to manage my diary better. You'd think I would have learned by now that having plans every night for a week leads to all of the things that generally make me wig out – mess and clutter on every surface, lack of sleep, a growing washing and ironing pile, an overflowing e-mail inbox and a string of missed calls and texts to reply to. I think if I stayed home every night and every weekend I would just about be able to keep on top of the cleaning, household chores and general errands, but I feel at the moment like I only have to have one or two nights out of the house, or a weekend away, to get totally behind.

After a lot of thought and googling and pinning tips for better organisation, as well as some good chats with Sarah and Katy last weekend, I finally happened upon a good solution. Owning less stuff! I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, I mean, it seems pretty obvious right? If you own and circulate 100 items of clothing every week or so, and can fit 20 things in the washing machine, that means you do five loads of washing, and iron 100 things, every week.  (And then have to cram 100 things in the drawers or on hangers in the wardrobe, and then have 100 things that end up in piles on the bedroom floor, or piling up in the wash basket). But if you wear 30 items a week, then that’s a lot less washing, ironing, and mess. I also recently read about Project 333, a project where you only wear 33 things (clothing, accessories and shoes), for three months. I definitely couldn’t manage that quite yet, but I’m definitely getting to a point where the thought of downsizing my wardrobe excites me rather than terrifies me.

The same goes for everything else in our house – the more ‘stuff’, the more stuff to clean, tidy away, dust, etc. I heard a podcast the other day that described a ‘vicious circle’ of stress, where you buy things because you’re stressed or depressed, to get that temporary hit of excitement and pleasure, but then the new things end up in turn contributing to your stress levels because you either couldn’t afford them and end up guiltily eying your bank balance, or because you can’t accommodate them in your house and they end up being just another thing that gets crammed into the wardrobe.  Same goes for anything, not just clothes - another DVD wedged on a shelf, book in your 'to-read pile' or pair of shoes that won’t fit in the cupboard. It’s amazing how much sense it makes that owning (and buying) less stuff, makes you feel more zen.

In a couple of weeks I’ve set a whole weekend aside for a major declutter. I really need to clear out, like, 80% of our belongings in order to regain some sanity.  At the moment I'm really struggling with my busy brain and my stress levels, so I think this is one thing that will definitely help.  My only thought now is what to do with all of the things I no longer need.  The majority will go to the charity shop but there are some things that might have to go somewhere like eBay, Depop or a site for second hand designer clothes.  I just can't bear to give away things that I bought for £100 that still have their tags on.  Once I've had a clearout, I'm also going to be much more careful about what I buy, and even things like what I accept as a blog review, or what I put on my birthday list.  The last thing I want to do is have a de-clutter and find myself buying pointless things in Primark or picking up bargains just because they're on sale, that then don't find a home and end up causing clutter again. I'm going to have to be very strict! Once I've had a 'things' declutter, I also need to declutter my diary and clear out some social activities that are not making me happy, and take a good hard look at how I spend my time generally.  I'm finding at the moment that I'm very busy, but not very productive, and I need to make time for quiet time, and to focus on the things that really matter.

Do you find a neater, clutter-free home helps you de-stress?

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Royal Bath and West Show with Barber's Cheese

If I had to desribe my perfect blogging event, it wouldn't involve cocktails, party dresses and a swanky club, but it would probably involve cheese, cider and stroking animals.  I realise that's pretty niche, but hey, I'm a country bumpkin at heart and being surrounded by dairy products and farmyard animals is my happy place. (Honestly, the only reason I'd consider having children at the moment is to give me an excuse to go to one of those farms where you can feed the animals and go on tractor rides, without looking like a complete weirdo).

And so it was, that the lovely Tamsin asked me if I wanted to go to the Royal Bath and West Show with her and Barber's Cheese, and I was sold before she even got onto the bit about the tour of the British Cheese Awards...

Naturally, because it was an agricultural show, I popped on my Barbour jacket, Barbour boots and my most country bumpkin hat, and headed off with Tamsin for a day in the sunsine.

Outfit for Royal Bath and West Show

The first part of our day at the Bath and West Show involved us meeting some of the lovely chaps that make up the Barber family and run the cheesemaking business from their farm in Somerset. They were all so nice, and helped alleviate some of our nerves at entering their cheese toastie making competition!  Armed with their extremely yummy Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar, we were asked to whip up a culinary creation that would win over their judges and be crowned the 2015 Ultimate Cheese Toastie.  I went for a three cheese (cheddar, goat's cheese and Applewood smoked cheese) and caramelised onion chutney toastie.  Tamsin made a parma ham, spring onion and cheddar toastie.

Cheese toastie making at the Royal Bath and West Show Cheese toastie making at the Royal Bath and West Show

We got to taste our own and I thought both of ours were great - so we were excited to hear the announcement of the winners a little later.  I didn't realise however, that there were some rather accomplished food bloggers involved, and the winning toastie turned out to be May's nduja Italian sausage, pear, apple, honey and cheese toastie.  A rather delectable string of ingredients that definitely beat my humble three cheeses! They only read out the top three so I was either 4th or last - oops! Tamsin came an impressive second, I was jealous....

After the announcement I soothed my bruised ego with some cider and cheese tasting.  Louisa Sheppy, part of the family who own Sheppy's Cider, came to talk us through three of their popular ciders, and a new fruity cider that has been added to their repertoire - Blackberry and Elderflower. After we had tried each of the ciders we then tried more of the yummy Barber's cheese to see which was the best accompaniment for a platter of the finest cheddar!

barbers005 Louisa Sheppy at Royal Bath and West Show

Louisa's insight into their ciders was absolutely fascinating.  We learned all about how people's palates have changed so much since the first days of traditional cider making, when the farmer would have a bottle of what we would probably describe as flat, cloudy cider on his kitchen table, and most people nowadays who have been brought up on the popular supermarket brands might not think was sweet enough.  Personally I love a really good vintage, scrumpy cider, and my favourite of the Sheppy's ciders that we tried was their vintage reserve (which incidentally won a Great Taste Award in 2013 and 2014 - so I must have good taste!)  It was also a great match for the Barber's cheese, so that's a pairing that will definitely be happening in my kitchen ASAP!

After the tasting we then had a tour of the British Cheese Awards.  The awards were held on the 26 May, the day before the show opened, but the Cheese Hall (are there two better words in the English language?) housed all of the winning cheeses.  We got to taste the supreme champion - the Barkham Blue from Two Hoots Cheese.  It was delicious, as you'd imagine.  It was hard not to be mesmerised by being in a room full of cheese though.... Oh to be a cheese taster (dream job or what?)

Cheese Awards at the Royal Bath and West Show

After our tour of the Cheese Hall, and lots more tasting, we headed off to explore the rest of the show.  We went to the Main Ring to watch one of the horse shows...

Horse at the Royal Bath and West Show

... and then into the livestock area to see the various cattle, pigs, goats and sheep competing to be 'best in show'.  We loved these fluffy Galloway cattle, they look like they'd had a shampoo and blow dry.  They look so stroke-able!

Cows at Royal Bath and West show

I'm glad I managed to include the person in this photo for scale, othereise you'd never have believed how big they were. These cows weighed over ton! I've never seen such a gigantic cow....

Giant cows at Royal Bath and West show

These sheep were all snuggled together in the sheep area, and this black sheep had his eye on me....

Bath and West Show - Sheep Sheep  at the Royal Bath and West Show

The Kune kune pigs were our favourite, they are ridiculously cute.  I really want one but Tom isn't convinced! I didn't get a very good photo of them but I'm just going to link to this advert in case you don't believe me...

After looking at all of the livestock we went to explore the Food Court, which was huge and included millions of different stalls and even a Small Producer's Marker, which was a nice addition.  We had a good chat with this chap from Rosie's Cider, made in Llandegla in Wales.  I was given a sticker because my name was Rosie! Rosie's Cider was named after his dog Rosie, who sadly passed away. She was also the CEO of Rosie's Cider - she definitely left it in safe hands as the cider was amazing - I came away with a bottle of their Wicked Wasp, I'll have to stock up next time I'm in Wales!

Rosie's Cider Shop  at the Royal Bath and West Show

We also stopped off at the Happy Egg bus, and these two happy eggs had our photos taken...

Happy Egg at the Royal Bath and West Show Tamsin and Happy Egg

Our final stop was at the Hawk and Owl stand.  There were several absolutely amazing birds there - this one was my favourite, but I'm not sure what it is.  It had its beady eye on me!

Bird at Royal Bath and West Show

After a lot more mooching around and a large Cornish pasty, we headed back to Dorset, with happy bellies full of cheese and cider.  A big thanks to Barber's for hosting us, it was just the most perfect day out!

Tamsin also made a fab YouTube video of the day if you want to see the toastie making action and us becoming increasingly convinced that we need a Kune Kune piglet!

Are you a cheese lover? Would the cheese hall be your happy place?

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A summer-y wishlist | Jack Wills lusting

I have an unwritten rule for returning to work after a beach holiday (or any holiday where I've been lucky enough to get a tan).  First day back - compulsory white shirt.  Nothing says 'be jealous of my post-holiday glow' like a crisp white shirt with rolled up sleeves, exposing two bronzed forearms.  I just can't help myself.  So with this in mind, a few days before we returned home from Bali, I sat by our hotel pool on my iPad on the Jack Wills website ordering my new white shirt (this shirt, teamed with navy trousers, is my current favourite work outfit) - and then watching as a few more things hopped in my basket.  I picked up several new shirts, as well as a cardigan so soft I don't ever want to take it off (perfect for throwing on when they get over-enthusiastic with the air con in the office).

But after my mammoth work-wear order I couldn't help but notice that their New In section is housing some rather swoon-worthy summer pieces that might also need to be mine.  That's what I always love about Jack Wills, you can pick up everything from work shirts to comfy joggers to some seriously cute shoes (I also recently treated myself to some spotted loafers of theirs which will be popping up in an outfit post soon.  I really have no willpower when it comes to Jack Wills orders!) Here's my current favourites.  I mean, that bag.... it desrves to be on my back on a beach somewhere whilst I eat an ice cream, right?

Jack Wills wishlist

1. allerdale crew | £49.50
2. vale embroidered t-shirt | £34.50
3. buscot backpack | £59.50
4. dunton embroidered top | £49.50
5. mornick shirt dress | £69.50
6. dunton embroidered top | £49.50

Are you a Jack Wills fan? I must admit to going a little crazy in their outlets whenever I spot one too, the one at Gunwharf Quays is great (and is responsible for the majority of my pajama drawer...)

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Jazzing up my Fitbit - Tory Burch Fitbit bracelet

Just a quick post today to share my new favourite wrist accessory - a snazzy new Tory Burch bracelet to house my Fitbit Flex! Since I got back from Bali I've been crazily into tracking all sorts of things, from my iPhone usage, to my heart rate whilst running, to my steps per day, to the amount of time I spent at work, through various different apps.  I hadn't used my Fitbit Flex for several months, but in the interests of trying to motivate me to move more and look into my exercise and activity habits, I thought I'd reinstall the app, charge it up and get wearing it again.

The only thing that put me off is how wearing the Fitbit Flex looked.  I had a pink wristband that was both bright and garish, and getting pretty grubby.  At work, it didn't go with my outfits and I felt it looked a bit sloppy and unsightly.  I hid it up my sleeve and put up with it for a couple of weeks, before I spotted the Tory Burch for Fitbit bracelets on the Fitbit website.  Without even thinking, I ordered one straight away - whilst I hankered for the double-wrap leather bracelet, £160 was almost three times what the tracker itself cost, so I opted for the more purse friendly silicone bracelet, for £35.  I wear a lot of navy, especially at work, so I instantly gravitated towards the design that looked a little like a blue china effect as I thought it would fit with a lot of my outfits.

It arrived so beautifully wrapped, I was way more excited to unpack it than I should have been about a fitness bracelet!  You have to already own the Flex in order to use the bracelet - you just slip the tracker into the hole in the back.

Fitbit Flex Tory Burch Bracelet Fitbit Flex Tory Burch Bracelet Fitbit Flex Tory Burch Bracelet

I am totally in love with it - I love that the tracker lights are shown inside the 'T' logo, it's such a neat design.

Fitbit Flex Tory Burch Bracelet

I've been loving using my Fitbit Flex over the last few weeks, it totally motivates me to make sure I meet my step and activity goals - as well as tracking my sleep.  My best steps in a day so far is 40,000 steps, but most days I get around 15,000.  The 'active minutes' measure is also one I always look out for, yesterday I was active for 64 minutes, which I was chuffed with considering I sit in a car for two hours and at my desk for about seven hours.  It's also interesting to see how much more active I am on days when I've had a better night's sleep.

Do you use a fitness tracker? Do you have one that fits with your wardrobe or do you hide yours away like I used to?

If you're considering getting a fitness tracker, I've also reviewed the Fitbug Orb and the Polar Loop on my blog previously... I'm a bit of a fitness tracker geek! 

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